Posted by: garyskidmore | January 18, 2016

My Friend, Glenn Frey

I should have gone to that last concert, July 29 in Bossier City – just a very short flight from Austin. It was their last stop on the History of the Eagles tour. But, I thought, I’ll go see them on the next tour. I thought they’d last forever.

Today Glenn Frey died. I never met him, but if you can know a person by what they do…then we were friends.

glenn Frey

I saw him and Eagles Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit in concert 12 times:

  • Austin (2 times)
  • LA (3 times)
  • San Antonio (2 times)
  • Las Vegas (3 times)
  • New York
  • Hong Kong

I saw them with my wife, my kids, my granddaughter (when she was 2!), my friends, my kid’s friends, and my co-workers.   I made a special CD for my daughter Kathrine, after my first granddaughter, London, was born. “Play it for her when rocking her, like I did when I was rocking you.”

The Eagles are timeless.

I have every album (yes vinyl), CD and DVD – multiple copies of some. I listened for 1000’s of hours over the 43 years since that first album, that was just taking off when I was a freshman in college in 1972.

I saw them last at the Forum in LA in January of 2014.

Why does this matter so much to me? I guess I thought as long as those guys can do it, then so can I (we’re all in our 60’s). They inspired me to do better work…just like they were better every time I saw them.

I don’t expect there will be any more Eagles concerts…they aren’t the Eagles without Glenn.

Hotel California…Take It Easy…Desperado…The Heat is On…Life in the Fast Lane…Lyin Eyes…Take It to the Limit…Peaceful Easy Feeling…You Belong to the City…Seven Bridges Road…Wasted Time…New Kid in Town…Heartache Tonight…Best of My Love…Tequila Sunrise…

And these are just my favorites.

Well done, Glenn. I’ll see you at that big Eagles concert in the sky.

It’s your world now
My race is run
I’m moving on
Like the setting sun
No sad goodbyes
No tears allowed
You’ll be alright
It’s your world now

It’s Your World Now by Glenn Frey


Biegel - Winterberry Group Media Projections Direct and Digital 2015

In early January each year is the Direct Marketing Club of New York’s “2015 Annual Outlook” presentation, where Bruce Biegel of The Winterberry Group looks at media spending for 2014, and projections for 2015, based on a variety of econometric variables and trends.

Two recent media stories – here and here – encapsulate some of the findings, and suffice it to say, 2015 is expected to be the best year in U.S. ad spending since the Great Recession, and may even surpass the all-time high, which is surprising in that there’s no World Cup, Olympics or major election this year.

Where The Winterberry Group (free registration) is most bullish, not unexpectedly, is with data-driven media spending (what it sees as below-the-line direct and digital), forecast to grow 7.3%, and overall digital spending growth of 16.3% to reach $64.2 billion. Across digital spend categories, mobile advertising (excluding mobile display and mobile search) is forecast to grow by 37.3% to $0.6 billion, social technology and services (excluding social display and social search) is forecast to grow 31.5% to $3.9 billion, and display (including desktop and mobile) will grow 21.1% to $28.3 billion, and search (including desktop and mobile) will grow 11.1% to reach $26.9 billion.

In comparison, above-the-line “measured media” spend will grow 1.53% – half the projected U.S. GDP growth – with modest increases expected in television, radio, outdoor and cinema spend, and slight decreases in print categories, magazines and newspapers. [Any growth is actually phenomenal here, being that there are no major “advertising” events other than the usual annual events, such as The Super Bowl, World Series and March Madness.]

According to Biegel, one the big drivers of digital spending growth is data, using data to increase “customer centricity” and to shift more media spend decisions to “audience buying” programmatic portals. In The Winterberry Group’s panel of marketing leaders, 92% say data is important to future marketing and advertising efforts (both client-side and agency-side respondents combined), with 80% noting the same for current marketing and advertising campaigns.

In 2014, programmatic display (banners, video, mobile, social) advertising exploded – moving from 24% of all digital display spend the prior year to 45% share. Audience, more than context, is the driver, as more and more CRM data (online and offline) newly flows in to audience-buying algorithms that have browsing behavior at their core.

Truly, data’s role in advertising is getting 2015 off to a great start.

Helpful Links:

The Winterberry Group (“2015 Annual Outlook” is downloadable after free registration):

Target Marketing: “Ad Spending Will Be ‘Highest Ever’ in 2015, Says Biegel”

Direct Marketing News: “Where Will Marketing Grow in 2015?”


The integration of off- and online data accelerated in 2014, and companies will continue to merge that data as more of them adopt data management platforms. DMPs are like an extension of a company’s marketing database, [Winterberry Group’s Bruce Biegel] said, noting that the integrated data helps marketers deliver a more relevant customer experience. “Over the next couple of years DMPs will be a must-have,” he said.

— Ginger Conlon, “Where Will Marketing Grow in 2015?,” Direct Marketing News (January 9, 2015)

Posted by: garyskidmore | December 30, 2014

What Happens When Online Marketers ‘Discover’ Offline Data

From ATX -- Online Offline Image -- 12 30 14

A few years back – when I was on the Direct Marketing Association Board – we had discussions about what to call “direct marketing.” That discussion continues today.

To traditionalists in the DM field, “direct marketing” encompasses any form of marketing that provides a measurable response from a targeted audience – a sale, a lead, store or Web site traffic, social engagement. Whether or not the marketing activity is offline or online or a combination is immaterial.

Some started to use the phrase “data-driven marketing” to span these two marketing platforms. While this term didn’t settle the “name” debate about direct and digital – one in the same or different? – it did make front-and-center the star of both direct and digital marketing, “it’s all about the data.”

Data is bringing digital and direct marketing together, where they always have belonged. The use of data from the customer database (or CRM data), teamed with compiled data from third party sources, is being combined with online data (often de-identified, some of it addressable) to enable significant lift in response, and elimination of waste, in digital display, search and social media spending.

In the hyperbolic world of “Big Data,” marketers are scrambling for data with three basic attributes: data they can believe, data that is accurate and data that can be leveraged. Nothing more, nothing less.

It’s a fairly straightforward process. Consider these observations:

Compose a best-customer profile by product from existing CRM data. Offline purchases currently account for 90% of all transactions. All of this addressable info can be analyzed for effective online targeting:

  • transaction data (both offline and online) including product SKUs
  • RFM analysis from that data
  • email campaign and behavior
  • social behavior
  • mobile usage (opt-in)
  • web behavior
  • enterprise data
  • consumer and business demographics

Data management platforms and data quality software enable disparate data sources to be staged, parsed and integrated for more complete analyses.

Digital media spend will grow 14% this year, surpassing $50 billion in the U.S. alone (The Winterberry Group, 2014). Much of this spending beyond email is NOT driven by addressable media, and consumer attention online is fleeting. Marketers are wondering: is any of my spending in search, social and display wasted? Whether spending for branding or spending for direct-response, the answer is still the same: yes. But the good news is that much of this waste is preventable!

You can buy audiences by cookie (first party and third party), and you can use device recognition technology for mobile marketing. These technologies definitely help discern and differentiate audiences online – but the targeting process can be refined further with offline data.

When offline data gets mixed with online data for targeting, returns in consumer activity can increase two times to five times. Retargeting becomes more effective; non-responsive search terms and targets are identified and purged; and search bids become more strategic using consumer data appends, ZIP+ data and predictive attributes from look-alike models.

Adlucent (, arguably among the best paid search agencies on the planet, uses this predictable and profitable process. One of its retail clients increased revenue 25% with an increase in clicks of only 3% (resulting in a 22% increase of revenue per click). Another retail customer saw clicks drop by 17%, but revenue grow by 10% and revenue per click rise by 33%.

This is data-driven marketing! Using offline and online data together intelligently. 2015 will certainly continue to prove such online-offline data love.

Helpful Links:

Winterberry Group: “2014 Annual Outlook: What to Expect in Direct and Digital Marketing” (Look for a 2015 Report on this site in early January 2015.)

MediaPost: “Media Fragmentation Means Ad World’s Future Based on Audience, Not Content”

LiveIntent: “What is CRM Retargeting?”


“Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it…”

— Dan Ariely, Duke University

Posted by: garyskidmore | November 30, 2014

A Love for the Customer Equals a Love for Data

When I started Select Marketing in 1981, one of my goals was to enable clients to provide the best customer experience through the power of one-to-one communication, via the telephone – at that time, the most personal of all media.

The customer experience – or the prospect experience – has always been make-or-break for any business, so it was quickly apparent that somehow, some way, metrics were needed to measure customer interaction, establish baselines and benchmarks, and leave client customers – and the clients as a result – feeling very satisfied. At that time, the Quality Movement was in full swing, making a discipline of internal and external measurements, methodologies for improvement, and incremental changes always for the better.

In short, data served to define better customer relationships.

During the next 3+ decades, data-driven marketing and customer relationship management came to define a discipline of its own. At Harte Hanks, which acquired Select Marketing in 1994, the contact center was integrated with other media and communications channels, to represent a “complete” customer experience driven by databases, and the analytics made possible by data collection and use. My rise to lead that company coincided with near-universal business recognition that no matter where the customer is, no matter what channels and media he or she interacts with, that the ability for brands to access data, transform it into intelligence and apply it for a better customer experience is a winning combination.

Look what has become of it. The Direct Marketing Association’s Data-Driven Marketing Institute determined that data helped drive $156 billion in revenue and 675,000 jobs in the U.S. economy in 2012. Furthermore, fully 70 percent of this value – $110 billion in sales – depends upon the exchange of data between entities, and its subsequent application.

I see this figure only growing, and significantly so. Look at what’s happened to media buying, for example. In the U.S. and elsewhere, it’s become largely programmatic-driven powered by data. In fact media buying is less about the media, and more about the audience attributes that reside in the media. That’s nearly always been the case, but now the algorithms that drive advertising exchanges are highly defined by audience selection – the media matters, but only as much as the actual or intended customer is engaged with each channel.

Very few brands truly achieve “omni-channel” marketing, where a complete view of the customer is identified and recognized across all channels (and devices), and the data generated in each channel is integrated and analyzed accordingly to devise and create more relevant communication. That nirvana is now a stated goal for many forward-thinking CMOs and CIOs (and quite a few CFOs and CEOs, too), working together – as well as many innovative ad technology developers and entrepreneurs I’ve had the opportunity to work with.

It’s certainly part of my marketing DNA. Now I’m advising a company called DataMentors, which provides integrated data quality, data management and business intelligence solutions to help brands maximize customer value, reduce risk, and grow customer relationships.

Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) has been made possible by

  • the Marketing Cloud,
  • chief executive buy-in of data’s transformative power,
  • the abundance of smarter tools and analytics to take data’s volume, variety and velocity and make it true business intelligence — often in real time.

That’s a lot of “processing” going on, and the results get immediately applied to serve the customer.

If you love your customers, then your love for data simply goes hand-in-hand. .

Helpful Links:

Data-Driven Marketing Institute: “The Value of Data: Consequences for Insight, Innovation, and Efficiency in the U.S. Economy” (October 2013):

The CMO Club and Visual IQ Team Up for Groundbreaking Study on Big Data and Marketing Attribution (January 2014):

Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB): 85% Of Advertisers And 72% Of Publishers Use Programmatic Auction Strategies, According To A New Survey of Digital Marketing Leaders (November 2013):

Opportunities for Global Expansion of Programmatic Expertise Spotlighted In Exclusive Study from IAB and Winterberry Group (July 2014):

DataMentors: More Revenue from Big Data (a video):


“Big Data is growing, and growing fast. We get that. However, like many marketers, you may be grappling with the challenge of finding the RIGHT data to target your customers and prospects – and with the RIGHT message. This is where DataMentors’ Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) is a game changer and the fuel to power your competitive advantage.”

— DataMentors Web Site on DaaS

Posted by: garyskidmore | October 19, 2014

First & 10: What Today’s Football Experience Teaches Marketers

From ATX - Football USA

Graphic Source:

Fall in Texas means football – high school, college, NFL.   In fact there are many indicators that Texas is the heart of football:

  • Friday night lights – every Friday there are more than 600 high school football games. More than 1 million people will attend a game each week.
  • The University of Texas has the most valuable college football program with $166 million in annual revenue.
  • And then there’s America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys, which according to Forbes is the most valuable NFL team, worth $3.2 billion.

That also means Texas is the heart of all the controversy surrounding football these days: the need to strengthen protection of athletes from head injuries, explore and deter the incidence of domestic violence among certain players, and, at the college level specifically, why all the conference realignment and the ability of individual football players to organize and get paid (beyond a scholarship and a college education).

While these issues deserve healthy debate and scrutiny – in the interest of protecting the growth of the game – there is also overwhelming passion for the sport.

All over the U.S., fans consume, interact and share content about their favorite teams. The sport (the brand) is healthy and growing. Marketers and other brands might take note on what football teaches us about how to build a brand.

Brand Community and Engagement – Between tailgating and fantasy football, and watch sites in bars, football provides numerous channels for its fan base to come together and engage. The energy and effort families and friends share in loyally following their team, and the sport overall, may be unmatched among other brands, but that doesn’t mean brands can’t aspire to offer their own opportunities for community building and engagement.

3 Questions:

  1. Do you know who your brand’s loyalists are?
  2. Have you identified them – and do you find ways to connect with them directly and to let them connect easily with each other?
  3. Are you in all the channels where customers choose to interact – and how do you use these channels effectively to build engagement and loyalty?

Content on Demand – There is a reason why the NFL, college conferences and college teams are increasing their programming, on both television and online: public consumption for football information, entertainment and analysis is increasing, substantially. The University of Texas has its own Longhorn Network, as do all the power conferences (SEC, Big XII, Big Ten, Atlantic Coast, and PAC-12), and the NFL Network has expanded its Thursday coverage – giving 3 nights of the week in the fall entirely over to games, while filling seven days, 24 hours a day, and on-demand in video and online coverage and analysis from every point of view – the coaches, the players, the sport press and the fans.

3 Questions:

  1. Is there a narrative for your brand?
  2. Are you creating compelling content that enables your customers to stay interested and connected?
  3. Are you enabling that content to be available to customers when they want on their terms?

The Customer Experience – Why do stadiums cost so much, and getting bigger and better all the time? In short, because the experience matters: when tens of thousands assemble, it’s not just the gamesmanship on the field, it’s the entirety of the game experience – from transportation and parking, to tailgating and fan exchange, to in-stadium comfort and safety, to the ability to interact with the game on smartphones and apps (whether in the stadium or otherwise). While the economics of football are seemingly steep, the realized returns are phenomenal. No city wants to lose a franchise.

3 Questions:

  1. How is your brand investing in your customer’s experience – from path to purchase, to fulfillment and service, to loyalty and evangelism?
  2. Is there research to determine what customers enjoy most (and least) about your brand – and how this enjoyment can be enhanced (and dissatisfaction erased)?
  3. Is there an investment strategy to build on this vision – and calculate return?

Perhaps the National Football League has fumbled handling of some of the issues it faces, and the NCAA policies and enforcement actions leave some of us scratching our heads, but the public’s interest – the fans’ interest – results directly in people talking, opinion sharing and – eventually – serving the best interest of the sports’ players, their families and the fan base.

Your brand may not have as much command of the public’s imagination as the game of football – but consider the football case. Football has successfully impassioned generations of fans, and its ability to serve that fan base keeps the sport growing in the American entertainment marketplace. Football has its challenges – and there are plenty of other sports that are plainly in crisis (no democracy wants to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, for example) that may be a sort of warning – but by being deeply engaged with its fan base, football delivers – and it’s only getting better.


Chief Marketer, “Why Brands Should Pay Attention to College Football”

USA Today, “NCAA Finances”

Forbes, “NFL Team Valuations”

Houston Chronicle, “When It Comes to High School Football, Texas has no Rival”

Forbes, “2014’s Most Loyal Football Fans & How Ray Rice Abused League Loyalty”

Fox News, “Where the Real Game Is Played: NFL Cities That Do Tailgating Best”

Time, “Why Nobody Wants to Host the 2022 Winter Olympics”


“Football is a team game. So is life.”

– Joe Namath

Posted by: garyskidmore | September 15, 2014

My Mobile, Multiscreen Life – with More Living to Come

From ATX -- My Multiscreen Life

Like you, I’m very busy managing my life (personal and business) with my three screens: iPhone, iPad and Macbook Air. My use of each screen reflects the strengths – and weaknesses – of each, and I’m still largely tethered to any one screen for any given task. In other words, no one device is likely to replace completely another – at least not in the immediate future.

For example, using my iPhone or iPad throughout the day, I may spot stories, news or ideas I want to link to and share using LinkedIn and Twitter (@gskid on Twitter — follow me). I’ll also check Facebook numerous times daily to keep up with family and friends.  I rarely use my notebook for these tasks.

I also daily use several apps on my mobile and tablet, — Google Maps, Safari, iTunes, Pandora and the online editions of The Wall Street Journal and Austin American-Statesman. I also listen to the iPad app of Bloomberg every morning. And everyday on my drive to the office I use the Apple podcast app to listen podcasts from TED, KCRW, Dan Pink, Freakonomics and Andy Stanley.

Then there are those mobile apps that I use for a specific purpose:

  •  Fandango (to check on movie times and buy tickets)
  • Airline and Hotel apps to make reservations and confirm details (Southwest has the best)
  • Weather Bug (to see if it will once again be above 100º in Austin)
  • Pay for my bold coffee with the Starbucks app
  • Check scores, listen and occasionally watch via ESPN’s apps
  • Amex and Wells Fargo apps to make payments and deposits (just snapshot the check via the app and it’s deposited!)
  • Walgreens app to send photos to my 86-year-old mom (the photos print at a Lubbock store and she picks up since she doesn’t do Facebook or iPhone)

According to Nielsen, U.S. Android and iPhone users age 18 and over spend 65 percent more time each month using apps than they did just two years ago. In Q4 2013, they spent 30 hours, 15 minutes using apps, a full half-day more than in Q4 2011. The average number of apps used per month increased to 26.5.

My own behavior may help explain why mobile ad spend is overtaking radio and print — is TV next?

There are still many things that are done best on my MacBook.

  • I’m editing this blog with Word.
  • I build and review complex spreadsheets
  • And accessing attachments (perhaps I need to store everything on the cloud)
  • Especially buying stuff online (even though I do most of my searches on my phone)

Unfortunately, when it comes to ecommerce, a reliable, easy-to-use mobile wallet is still elusive for me. (I’m hoping Apple Pay is the answer.) This remains the big opportunity.  According to Nielsen and xAd/Telemetrics, more than 50 percent of buying searches are on a mobile, but only 33 percent of online shopping is on a mobile device, while 77 percent of smartphone shopping lead to in-store purchases.

The reason I like my financial apps is that I can complete a transaction…pay a bill, deposit, transfer, but unless I use a retailer’s specific app (Amazon, for example) I have to complete the 30 or so steps to complete a purchase and that’s just too hard with my phone typing. We need a universal way (thumb print checkout, perhaps) so we can do search-and-complete transactions.

At the end of the day, I turn to one of my leading indicators: watching what millennials do. I still see them using laptops, tablets and smartphones. Certainly, as we’re multi-screen, jumping from one to another, we’re not using each screen equally for the same purposes. I wonder if we ever will. The PC is not dead.

Tell me about your multi-screen habits and your mobile use (how many apps do you regularly use?) that you’d like to offer a comment on – post it below!

Helpful Links:

MarketingCharts and CMO Council: How is the Media Mix Changing? |

MarketingLand: Mobile Ad Revenue Surpasses Print & Radio |

Nielsen: Smartphones – So Many Apps So Much Time |–so-much-time.html

Wired: How Working on Multiple Screens Can Actually Help You Focus |


At the heart of this multiscreen life is a counterintuitive realization: that a profusion of devices can help focus one’s attention rather than fracture it. A pile of browser tabs on your laptop becomes mentally confusing; tasks get hidden and maybe forgotten. But when screens are physically separate, the problem evaporates.”

— Clive Thompson in Wired (July 7, 2014)

Posted by: garyskidmore | August 14, 2014

How Old Would You Be…?

Gary at 60 with Much to Love

Lots to Love at 60

How old would you be, if you didn’t know how old you are?

I’d be about 47… old enough to have had the experience of my career, but young and energetic enough to be planning a substantial second career. 47, that sounds good.

However, last week I turned 60. I’m now in age limbo.

Some, (millennials) consider me too old to “get it.” (For the record, I do not “feel” old and I DO get it.) Some, (boomers) believe that 60 is the new launching pad age…that time after you’ve had a long, successful career and you’re ready to start something new.

I do know that 60 is much too young to retire…in fact I don’t believe in retirement at all. However, turning 60 has been a time of intense thinking and reflection, including thinking about what I have learned after being in the workforce for 45 years about work life (and some personal life lessons, too).

So from score/groundskeeper for Western Little League to president and COO for a global marketing services company, here are Skidmore’s five things that matter most in business.

1. Everyone needs a true mentor. I will be forever grateful to Bill New. He took me under his wing when he purchased Sweet Publishing and was my advisor and partner in Select Marketing. He gave me advice and listened to me. He told me stuff I needed to hear to be a better business leader and person (if you think I’m intense now, you should have seen me at 26!). Everyone needs a “Bill New” in his or her life.

2. No matter what you do, decide you will be the best. I have said many times, that I fully intended to play second base for the Yankees, but I couldn’t hit and was slow. I sure didn’t intend to be in the direct marketing business, but I was. So, like my dad, Skinny Skidmore, taught me, if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right and being the best.

3. Be intentional about hiring and working with people smarter than you. This was easy for me ;-). Smart people raise the performance of everyone around them, including the supervisor, department head, vice president or CEO. And when you find them, hang onto them. As a leader, having really smart people on your team can make you look BRILLIANT!

4. Have at least 3 bad days in a row before you quit a job. Every job has bad stuff…bad bosses, bad co-workers, some lousy and boring tasks…you can make your own list. And the grass is never as green on the other side as it looks. So when you’re ready to throw in the towel, wait. If it stays bad, really bad, for 3 days in a row (this doesn’t happen very often), then think about doing something different. Staying in the same job for a while has big benefits.

5. Give back. The workplace is populated with people who need a friend, a listening ear, a littler career advice, or just a hug. Don’t make it all about you. When you go to work tomorrow, in addition to doing the best possible job, ask yourself, “how can I make a difference in someone’s life?” Knowing that you’ve done that, feels better (and is better) than a raise or promotion.

And here’s one more thought…maybe the most important learning from my first 45 years of working. Always…always act with integrity and be honest. In other words, do the right thing. You’ll always get a good night’s sleep.


“You have to change your ID, because they made a mistake. You are not 60. You are just a 40 year old with 20 years of experience.” — Unknown

Posted by: garyskidmore | July 29, 2014

How Satisfied Are Your Customers? How Satisfied Are You?

From ATX - Customer Service Issues - July 14

Perhaps the most logical fundamental idea of business is this: if your customers are satisfied with your product and service then they will continue to buy and buy more. Even if you are a product-centric company, your employees are essentially the way satisfaction is created. (And, if you take good care of your employees they are much more likely to take good care of your customers – but that’s another discussion.)

So why do so many companies seem to not get this?

The leading indicator of U.S. consumer satisfaction is ACSI (American Customer Satisfaction Index) and in Q2 of this year the drop in satisfaction was one of the largest in the 20-year history of the index. And the result of that drop was a material weakening of consumer’s willingness to spend.


Last week I experienced extreme dissatisfaction with Time Warner Cable. I work from home a lot, so when Time Warner offered me new ultra fast internet (up to 100 Mbps) I jumped on it. The result has been highly unreliable and generally slower speeds.

( )

I talked to at least 10 tech support reps, each of which had a different approach to solving my problem. (It’s a bad sign when you know by heart both the tech support phone number and the irritating self-service menu tree.) One in home service call led to new cable from the street to the house – the problems continued.

Finally after rebooting the modem every morning and increasingly angry conversations with another four tech support reps on Wednesday morning, I was “allowed” to talk to a supervisor who could not fix the problem, but arranged for another home service call. This time a knowledgeable and honest technician arrived on time and fixed the problem. He told me, “you and everyone else is having big problems with this upgrade.”

Why hadn’t anyone else told me that? And why did I have to threaten to end a 30+ year relationship to get my problem solved?

This does not make sense.

Why don’t more companies do what Ritz-Carlton does? Every one of the 38,000 employees is permitted to spend up to $2,000 to make any single guest satisfied – without having to get approval. That’s front desk staff, house keepers, reservation agents and waiters….EVERYONE.

( ).

What do you think? Why is satisfaction declining and most companies are not responding to empower their employees to solve the problems?

I don’t get it.


Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.”  — Donald Porter, V.P. British Airways

“Customer service is not a department, it’s everyone’s job.” — Anonymous

“Customer service is just a day in, day out ongoing, never ending, unremitting, persevering, compassionate, type of activity.” — Leon Gorman, CEO L.L.Bean

From ATX - Student Optimism - June 14 - 2

I’ve had a busy spring involved in higher education – and seriously, I can’t recall a time when I’ve encountered a maturity, level of enthusiasm, and skills-matching for launching and thriving in careers in marketing.

This month, I joined the Board of Trustees of Marketing EDGE (formerly the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation), a New York-based nonprofit education organization. Marketing EDGE programs literally touch thousands of students, hundreds of academicians and hundreds of marketing organizations (commercial and nonprofit, agencies, ad tech companies and brands) each year. Its many programs and scholarships serve to build a bridge between a better marketing education in colleges and universities (undergraduate and graduate) and a better learning and early-career experience inside some of the best marketing firms in the business. I love the work it is doing.

This short video (2 and a half minutes) captures the excitement that Marketing EDGE has to offer:

One such program is I-MAX [Interactive Marketing Analytics eXperience] where a group of very mature, knowledgeable, capable and encouraging marketing students get real-life case work and training inside the marketing analytics practice of a sponsoring data-driven marketing company.

Another event I attended this month was Marketing EDGE’s “Rising Stars” event in New York. Six under-40 marketing leaders who are not only creating innovation in the practice of marketing, but also are giving back through mentoring, teaching and encouraging the professional development of all their colleagues – might I say, younger and older. These individuals are making a difference in companies old and new, from startups to Fortune 500s.

In May, I judged the University of Texas MBA New Venture Creation competition, which involved primarily experienced business people who had returned to get their MBA degree. Innovation again, and very much on the cutting edge, among them a consumer packaged goods company that actually has been launched, a professional services company and a financial services company. In all three, technology is enabling whole new ways of creating, engaging and growing customers – creating value each and every step.

Call me Professor, adjunct that is: I also taught Direct Marketing every Monday night this past semester at Abilene Christian University, to 35 about-to-graduate seniors. There were no text books. There was actual, real-time information on the best digital marketing brands (some offline integration, too) that enabled knowledge transfer (and knowledge discovery, I learned a few things as well) through case studies. At the end of the semester, six class teams presented digital marketing ideas – and they pushed the innovation envelope with some ideas I’d love to test.

Here’s my take-aways from six months of involvement with marketing higher ed:

• Today’s university students and youngest professionals (Millennials) are smart and want to learn cutting-edge ideas – not text book stuff. They learn by doing.
• They want, and seek out, jobs that interest them – not those that pay the most.
• They want real-world internship experiences where they do real work – not make photocopies and order lunches.
• They expect to make a difference – and they seek out employers who do the same.
• And they understand the importance of analytics – they have taken lots of math and science to prepare and they know this is a difference maker.

I am bullish on what I’m hearing and seeing in our next generation of marketing professionals. I’m hopeful that more companies are in a position to prepare to hire these individuals because, with the right culture and openness, they will make a difference, and the practice of marketing will improve because of it.

Post your open internships, entry-level and early-experience jobs to:

Helpful Links:

• Marketing EDGE: | Twitter @mktgEDGEorg

• Abilene Christian University | Marketing Degree Program:

• University of Texas MBA Program:


“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

― Albert Einstein

From ATX - Student Optimism - June 14 - 1


The pace of change in marketing technology during the past 10 years is astonishing. It used to be (and probably still is, to some extent) that the big challenge in enterprises was getting the sales team and the marketing team to play nice together.

Today, an even bigger challenge is marketing and technology alignment – having a unified plan for managing the huge growth, variety and speed of data to recognize and serve customers at every touch-point in real time. In step with this alignment are having in place data management platforms and analytics capabilities to manage the high volume of prospects. Daunting indeed.

Welcome to the Marketing Cloud: Where the ether of digital technology enables data flows and information analysis for the potential of the smartest marketing we’ve ever known. Except one thing: how do we master it all?

As a president of a global marketing company, I was concerned (and still am) about silos of data – downloaded from a centralized customer or prospect database. Where one part of the enterprise, or another, worked on its various objectives independent of each other – creating mini-data stores that did a wonderful job for a department’s immediate business needs, but created incongruent views of the customer (and prospect) overall. From the customer’s experience, this delivered an inconsistent, disjointed brand experience.

Those nasty data silos “down” in the organization now have a crazier cousin – how do I manage “up” to the Marketing Cloud?

Right now, the bigger your brand, the more technology, data and analytics providers there are jumping all over your customer and prospect interactions, appending information, slicing and dicing, and serving up differentiated content in the persistent pursuit of greater relevance. It’s really a fascinating development – and one that has to happen to serve consumers the way they expect and demand, but yet is there really a central force – a CMO-CIO partnership – driving it all in sync?

Let’s not kid ourselves – no one brand really fully controls “its” marketing cloud, and neither does any single Big Tech or Big Digital company, no matter how many startups and acquisitions they undertake to increase share. Web site analytics, customer data management, tag management, prospect and customer data segmentation and appending, ad networks and servers, social platforms and social sharing, customer reviews, data quality management – a plethora of tech vendors large and small have access to a brand’s customer data, and potentially that of prospects, too.

As software-as-a-service off the cloud booms, it is hard to conceive that all this enterprise data is safe and secure. I’m not talking about security in the sense of criminal networks and foreign government espionage (though these threats are very real, too), but that of “commercial evaporation and precipitation of data” – leakage – as information is de-identified, re-identified, aggregated, analyzed and served up to meet the needs of consumers in each and every channel.

In a brilliant white paper (download link, registration required), Ghostery Enterprises reports that one leading retailer conducted an audit of its data vendors in the Marketing Cloud against its three main competitors and found a 72-percent overlap. Ouch! Yes contracts can spell out firewalls between competitors with a single vendor, but can they truly stop all leakage in cross-category situations with all vendors large and small? Ghostery also identified Web site load times, lack of uniform encryption, and “diluted data” from third-party data sources as additional Cloud threats. Whether or not we like it, we’re taking on all this risk to get the consumer served.

What’s your take on the Marketing Cloud? Is software-as-a-service making marketing easier – or harder? Are you in control of all your vendors (and what they are doing)? Do you have the ways and means in place to manage data flows and data analysis and apply learning throughout the organization? And keep this learning proprietary?

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“The biggest challenge that you see as a cloud beginner is security, followed by compliance, followed by managing multiple clouds. Now, it’s interesting, because as you move down to cloud focus, you’ll see … the top challenges change for cloud-focused companies.”

— Kim Weins, Vice President for Marketing, RightScale, reported in Fierce Enterprise Communications

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